So you got your iFetch (or plan on getting one)… Now how do you train your dog to use it?
The answer is simple. No matter which iFetch you buy – original iFetch, iFetch Too, or iFetch Frenzy – training to use each toy is the same.
All you have to teach your dog is to drop the ball into the chute.
“How easy!” you think to yourself.
But sometimes, depending on the dog, this won’t be as easy as you think.
Some dogs can learn in one day, while others can take nearly a week. It really comes down to your dog. But this doesn’t mean you can’t speed up the process…
After all, you want to buy the iFetch so you can save time, not spend extra time training your pup.
So what I’m going to show you in this post are several tips and tricks on how to train your dog to use an iFetch.
Let’s get started!
How To Train Your Dog To Use An iFetch
Step 1: Introduce your iFetch
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to force your dog around a new toy when he’s scared.
Most dogs aren’t afraid of these toys because they’re pretty small. But there are some who will be frightened and taken aback.
If this is the case for you, you don’t want to rush into training them yet.
What you want to do is allow them to sniff around and get used to this blue and white contraption, until he’s completely calm and relaxed around it.
To shorten this process, try moving the food and water bowls next to the iFetch.
Once your dog doesn’t mind this toy being around, you can move onto the next step…
Step 2: Train your dog to drop the ball
With a pack of your dog’s favorite treats, grab one of the iFetch balls, and your pup on a leash, to get ready for a quick training session.
In this step, you won’t be needing the actual iFetch just yet. We just want him to learn how to drop the ball.
So first, make sure your dog is on a leash so he doesn’t get distracted. Then, roll one of the iFetch balls for him to go fetch and bring back. Now, when he returns, command him to drop the ball by saying “Out” or “Drop” while moving a treat up to his mouth.
Your dog might not get it at first, and that’s expected. But often, when you hand him a treat while a ball is in his mouth, he’ll drop it.
Do this several times for about 10 minutes, three times a day, until he drops the ball each time.
Step 3: Train your dog to drop ONLY on your command
Now we’re going to take dropping the ball a step further before we introduce the iFetch.
What you’re going to do now is the same thing as before. But only reward your pup with a treat when he drops ON YOUR COMMAND.
So instead of him just dropping the ball by chance at the same time as your command, you’re going to wait a second…
When he retrieves the ball, wait a moment before telling him “Out.” And if he drops the ball toss him a treat!
But if he doesn’t, this time, you’re not going to reward him.
Do this until he understands to only drop the ball on your command. Then move onto the next step…
Step 4: Train your dog to drop the ball into the iFetch
Now is the time to bring in your new iFetch. After training your pup to drop the ball on your command, dropping it into the iFetch will be much easier.
Start with the iFetch turned OFF.
We’re only using it to help train your pup to drop the ball into it.
So first, roll a ball out for your pup to fetch and bring back. But this time, you want to point at the iFetch to signal where to drop the ball, while saying your command.
It’s going to be tough at first for your pup to get the coordination down. But make sure to reward every attempt to motivate him.
Keep doing this until he’s able to reliably drop the ball into the iFetch about 9 out of 10 times.
Then, you’re ready to finally start playing!
And instead of a treat as his reward for dropping the ball, now the iFetch will reward him with another throw to chase after.
Learning how to train a dog to use an iFetch is crucial. If you don’t do it correctly, you can waste many days without seeing any progress.
Make sure to follow these steps carefully to ensure you get the most out of your ball launcher.
In fact, I would even recommend you start training your pup before your iFetch arrives at your home. You just need a tennis ball.
This way, by the time your iFetch is at your doorstep, you can start playing right away. All you have to do is teach him to drop the ball in the iFetch.
And remember, these steps can be followed with any dog ball launcher.
Just be patient, and you can finally take a break from playing fetch all the time.